Movie vs. Book: Dark Places

Libby Day didn’t have an ordinary childhood. She grew up alone — not because her parents both died, nor because she was left behind, but because her mother and two sisters were murdered by her brother. “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas” is her claim to fame even 25 years later, and in many ways, the murders still rule her life. She spent decades surviving off money earned through life insurance policies, donations and book sales from the memoir she wrote. Now her money is running out. Her brother is still in jail. They still don’t talk. And Libby hasn’t started a new life because she can’t let go of her past.

But she then learns a “Kill Club” exists, where people investigate some of the nation’s most infamous crimes and murders. The Day murders are a favorite in the club. When Libby realizes she can take advantage of the club by accepting money from them in return for speaking to other people associated with her brother’s murders, she does it. She is desperate for money. But she soon realizes that most members of the “Kill Club” think she’s weak and a liar. They believe her brother isn’t the killer. Being seven at the time of the murders, Libby doesn’t remember much, so she sets out to re-investigate the murders herself and encounters an entire secret history of the Day family that she never knew existed.

Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places includes many of the same things that readers liked about her more famous bestseller Gone Girl: rotating — and untrustworthy — narrators and perspectives, suspense, mystery, a big twist and general creepiness. Gone Girl has its bloody, gory moments, but Dark Places trumps those. The killing scene is gruesome, and there are sections about sacrifices to Satan that can’t help but cause goosebumps. Generally speaking, the film does a good job of portraying the same creepiness the book offers, but still doesn’t compare.

The casting is a little off. Charlize Theron as Libby Day is all wrong; she is too beautiful, too confident, too “cool” to be the unconfident misfit that is Libby Day. Similarly, Chloe Grace Moretz is too angelic to play a Satan-worshipper. But it’s more than just the casting. The flashback scenes including killing scene is hokey. Shot in black and white and shaky, it looks more “Blair Witch Project” than “Psycho.”

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with the movie, other than to say it just doesn’t feel right. There are a few characters that are left out or killed off, including Libby’s Aunt Diane. Some of the interviews Libby conducts are also excluded. I understand those choices were made for time purposes. Otherwise, the movie follows the book closely enough. But there’s something about it — maybe it’s the fact that the book is just so creepy, so dark, so twisty that it’s hard to create a visual version that can even remotely compare. The movie doesn’t allow us to connect with the characters like the book does — and suddenly I found myself more curious about when the movie would end than “Did her brother really do it?”

Get Dark Places on your Kindle for $7.99.

Or in paperback for $8.33.

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New Tolkien Book Set to be Released in October

Just because The Hobbit movies have all been made doesn’t mean Tolkien’s work is finished.

According to Entertainment Weekly, another book by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien is being released: The Story of Kullervo, based on a Finnish legend know as the Kalevala.

The book is a fantasy — are we surprised? — and tells the story of a man who is sold into slavery, only to unknowingly seduce his sister and then kill himself. The story is apparently one of Tolkien’s earlier works, which apparently influenced his more recent literature. Tolkien never actually finished the novel, so the second half of it is his outline.

The book was already published last week in the U.K. It’s due to be released in the States October 27.

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Jack Black, David Oyelowo Voicing Audiobooks

Having recently listened to an audiobook (stay tuned for a review coming next week!), i know the value of the perfect person voicing the book to which you’re listening. That’s why this news is all the more significant. ‘

According to Entertainment Weekly, actors Jack Black and David Oyelowo are both voicing audiobooks.

Jack Black is reading and recording The Little Shop of Monsters, a picture book created by Goosebumps and Arthur creators R.L. Stine and Marc Brown. The book already came out this Tuesday.

David Oyelowo is voicing the latest James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis. You might think he’s the first black actor to voice Bond, but actually he’s not. Hugh Quarshie did the famous spy’s voice in the Dr. No audiobook that was released in 2012. But that doesn’t mean the concept of a black actor playing Bond is lost on anyone. In fact, there are several talks and much speculation about Daniel Craig’s next replacement being a black actor. But for now, it’s Oyelowo who holds all the cards.

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Latest ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Novel To Be Released Next Week

Yes, the original author of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its two immediate sequels is dead, but his stories live on.

As I reported earlier this year, the latest novel in the series was set to be released today. Now The Girl in the Spider’s Web is set to come out next week, September 1st. That’s the new official title for the book, written by David Lagercrantz.

While the book’s not out yet, several critics have reviewed it, and Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt. The latest novel follows Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist as they run from cybercriminals. The novel is getting good reviews, despite the controversy over the selection of who would finish writing it.

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‘Ready Player One’ Author Signs New Book Deal

If you’re a fan of Ready Player One, listen up because bestselling author Ernest Cline is coming out with yet another book. (And if you haven’t yet read Ready Player One, you really need to put it on your “To Read” list ASAP.)

According to Entertainment WeeklyReady Player One author Ernest Cline just signed a seven-figure deal to publish his third book with Crown Publishing. His second book, Armada, just came out this summer (and yes, I already have a copy. I just haven’t started reading it yet). The third is still untitled, and those involved won’t release any more information other than to say it’ll remain in the sci-fi genre.

So far, film rights were sold for both Ready Player One and Armada, but not yet for the highly under wraps third novel.

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‘Bob’s Burgers’ Cookbook In the Works

For those of you who watch the cartoon Bob’s Burgers, you know that almost every episode includes a “burger of the day.” Now, those burgers are about to become a reality.

According to Entertainment Weekly, tumblr blogger Cole Bowden is releasing a cookbook of all the shows’ burgers of the day, in conjunction with show creator Loren Bouchard. Bowen created the tumblr, The Bob’s Burger Experiment to recreate the shows’ recipes a while back, and it caught the attention of the show creator.

Now the two are releasing a physical cookbook in March 2016, with Bowen’s recreation recipes and show creator Bouchard doing the illustrations. The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book is already a #1 bestseller on Amazon!
You can pre-order The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book in hardcover for $14.41.

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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Recap: When Jacob Portman’s grandfather mysteriously and suddenly dies in some kind of animal attack, it’s Jacob about whom everyone worries. The two were close, and Jacob was at his grandfather’s side shortly after the attack. Jacob claims to have seen the beast, which he can only describe as a monster. No one believes him, so 16-year-old Jacob Portman starts seeing a therapist. Soon after, Jacob and his father take a trip to Wales, where his grandfather spent some time as a child. The hope is that the more he learns about his grandpa, the sooner he’ll be able to let go.

On his journey, he discovers an old house where his grandfather spent time as a child: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It’s in horrible shape. As it turns out, the home was bombed during WWII, killing all of the children inside. But Jacob insists his grandfather was one of those children and survived. That’s when Jacob discovers a time portal that transports him to the day of the bombing in 1940. Jacob befriends the friends of his grandfather and spends every day for weeks learning about this alternative world of peculiar children with special powers, time travel, and villains who are trying to take over.

When he learns that his own life is in danger, he has to choose: should he continue his life in present day with his parents? Or should he move permanently to the 1940 loop, where he has friends and a purpose?

Analysis: What sets this book apart from other adventure, fantasy novels are its pictures. Author Ransom Riggs wrote the book based upon pictures he collected. The pictures are creepy, and looking at the cover of the novel, I anticipated a thriller or ghost story that I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the book wasn’t scary at all; rather, it was fun, exciting and full of surprising twists. The book moved in directions I didn’t expect and did a good job of incorporating the odd photos, including a levitating girl and another girl holding what appears to be a ball of glowing light.

Upon finishing Miss Peregrine, it was surprising to me to learn that it’s a young adult fiction novel. It doesn’t read like one. Yes, it’s a coming-of-age tale at heart, and it’s about teenagers, but some of the issues Jacob must deal with are adult, and the end of the novel is pretty dark. It was so good and well-written, I was surprised to learn it was meant for teens rather than adults, who might possibly appreciate it even more. It also sets up nicely for the sequel — which I have yet to read, but can’t wait to.

MVP: Jacob. Despite being 16 years old, he has some tough decisions to make, and ultimately he does what’s not only right for me, but what’s wrong for everyone — whether they know it yet or not. He is mature for his age, and as the book continues, his confidence grows. I believe he’s the kind of person most teenagers aspire to be like.

Get Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in paperback for $5.71.

Or on your Kindle for just $3.99.

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